When medications fail to control the GERD, surgery is an option for some patients. However, less than one percent of patients choose surgical treatment for the condition because of its potential risks and side effects.
"The most common operation for GERD involves wrapping part of the stomach around the lower esophagus to strengthen the reflux barrier and, while this is effective, it can also interfere with normal physiologic functions like belching, and vomiting, and may lead to the gas bloat syndrome," explained Soper. "The LINX is an option for patients who are seeking a minimally invasive treatment that offers proven clinical benefits, generally with a lower incidence of the side effects of the current surgical procedures for GERD."
The LINX is an implantable device consisting of a bracelet of titanium beads with magnetic cores that expand and act as a replica of the sphincter muscle. The small band of beads is inserted through the patient's abdomen using laparoscopic surgery via a few small incisions and placed around the lower esophagus sphincter. The magnetism pulls the beads together to keep the sphincter muscle closed and prevent acid rising. The beads of the bracelet can also be pushed apart when swallowing to allow food to descend into the stomach. The patient is under general anesthesia during the outpatient procedure that typically takes less than an hour.
Unlike other surgical options, placement of the LINX system does not involve significant alterations to anatomy that may limit future treatment options. If needed, it can be removed later during a laparoscopic procedure similar to the implant procedure.
Doctors stress that treatment options must be carefully selected based on the unique needs of the patient, but say minimally invasive procedures such as the LINX operation have been shown to offer an array of potential benefits including a shorter recovery time, shorter hospital stay
|SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital|
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